globe and mail


Tuesday, June 25, 2002  Page A22

How to heckle the ump

Better oral critiquing at the game is the aim of Baseball Heckle Depot (, a Website with hundreds of barbs, compiled by Michael Tolley of Toronto.
A few gibes to hurl at an offending umpire:

“If you’re just gonna watch the game, get a ticket!”

“The French judge says it’s a strike!”

“We know you’re blind, we’ve seen your wife!”

“When your dog barks twice, it’s a strike!”

Heckling the Allies

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1988 of Mildred Gillars. This American-born actress with a sultry voice moved to Berlin in 1935 and ended up broadcasting to U.S. troops as Axis Sally. She was one of several U.S.-born Axis propagandists (including Lord Haw Haw, Ezra Pound and a score of young women sometimes called Tokyo Rose by Americans) who amused and enraged the Allies during the Second World War.

What is it like to be heckled by the enemy?
Some transcripts:

Axis Sally (on her Home Sweet Home program): “And what are your girls doing tonight, fellows? You really can’t blame them for going out to have some fun, could you? . . . You may dislike my repeating this to you, but it’s the truth, especially if you boys get all mutilated and do not return in one piece.”

Orphan Ann (Iva Toguri, one of the Tokyo Roses): “Greetings, everybody! This is your No. 1 enemy, your favourite playmate, Orphan Ann on Radio Tokyo — the little sunbeam whose throat you’d like to cut! Get ready for a vicious assault on your morale, 75 minutes of music and news for our friends — I mean, our enemies! — in the South Pacific.”

Baghdad Betty (an anonymous Iraqi, during the 1990 Gulf War): “GI, you should be home . . . while you’re away, movie stars are taking your women. Robert Redford is dating your girlfriend. Tom Selleck is kissing your lady. Bart Simpson is making love to your wife.”
Heckling in the arts

In 2000, Argentine tenor Jose Cura outraged Spanish opera buffs during a performance of Il Trovatore at the Teatro Real in Madrid. After seven days of being booed by audiences, Mr. Cura launched into a four-minute mid-performance outburst, saying: “I sing for all of you, not just for the part of the audience that smells.” Fans thought he had gone too far and he later apologized.

Last December, toward the end of an Atlanta production of Romeo and Juliet,the actor playing Romeo stopped the performance.
“Get the [intercourse] out!” he yelled at two women in the audience who had been talking and laughing inappropriately throughout the evening. “Either shut up or leave!”
The crowd cheered, writes Wendell Brock on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, he adds, the extreme reaction raises questions, such as: Is it ever appropriate for an actor or manager to stop a performance? Shouldn’t playhouses expect extra noise when they sell alcohol to audiences?

US Soccer Heckling

Last August, a dozen or so American soccer fans calling themselves Project Mayhem turned up at Washington’s Dulles International Airport to heckle the Honduran national team when it arrived. Their action was intended to be revenge for the way the U.S. team was treated in Central America; American soccer officials report their players are frequently pelted with fruit, batteries and worse, including bags of urine. In Guatemala, bands were hired to play outside the U.S. team’s hotel all night.
However, Spanish-language radio stations in the Washington area alerted Honduran fans to the planned protest. More than 800 people flooded the airport arrival area and Project Mayhem’s chant “U-S-A!” was drowned out by “Hon-DUR-as!” Chris Hummer, the Mayhem organizer, told The Washington Post: “What a crappy turnout. It kind of backfired.”
Thought du jour

“People are usually more firmly convinced that their opinions are precious than that they are true.” — George Santayana.